What we’re talking about when we talk about Harvard

Following yesterday’s Boston Globe story, Mark Leccese considers how Harvard has been used as a political slur.

But ponder this: If Ignatieff had been a professor at the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople, would the ad have been as powerful? No way. In politics — heck, in daily life — “Harvard” is a code word for “not like us.”

Remember how George H.W. Bush (Yale, Class of 1948) used “Harvard” to pound his opponent in the 1988 president election, Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis? In a speech on Houston on June 10, 1988, the Boston Globe reported, Bush stirred up with crowd with “When I wanted to learn the ways of the world, I didn’t go to the Kennedy School, I came to Texas,” and “Gov. Dukakis, his foreign policy views born in Harvard Yard’s boutique, would cut the muscle of our defense.”

The Harper Conservatives were quite fond of this stuff.

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